Kool Stuff

MEC Brenta Bag – Cheap and Durable

Not sure about the rest of you, but I keep my bike free of panniers and other useless accessories when I ride to work. Instead, I carry a messenger bag. The superior option if one must be a mule. Why not panniers?

It’s not because of their grotesque appearance or even because they publicly shame your rig, forcing it into a depression and causing it to break down more often.

No, I resist panniers, because panniers are like the space under your stairs. You can easily hide useless stuff in them… free from sight, free from guilt. This stuff can add up, but there is little incentive to get rid of it since you never see it and it’s hard to feel on you bike. With a courier bag or backpack, every extra ounce of weight gets noticed instantly, so you are motivated to cut down on crap and stay lean on your rig.

My recommended pack is the MEC Brenta Bag. I’ve been riding with one for five years.

This bag gets bad reviews from bike couriers because it can be leaky on long, rainy days and is not the most functional bag for transporting precious cargo across the city in monsoon season. These brave men and women basically need military grade materials to keep their stuff dry since they are out in the weather 8 hours a day.

But I am not a courier… just a humble roadie who uses his bike to get to and from the office. I ride 45 minutes to an hour each wayand do not need to stuff oddly shaped parcels into my bag and deliver them across town on the fly. The Brenta Bag will dry while I’m at work and I mostly stick clothes, tools, and sometimes a laptop into it. At just over 50 bucks, this is the best bag for the buck out there as far as I’m concerned.

The stock bag is a little lean on safety features so I made a couple of modifications by cutting up a safety sash and sewing it onto the front of my bag (actually, my mom did this for me ).

** Just to be clear… I’m talking about commuting gear here, not cross country / intercontinental bike rides. For these rides, I’d be banking on panniers for sure.

Pink Bar Tape Merch! – Beta Version

It’s here! PINKBARTAPE.COM merch! Well actually, it’s a prototype that my wife got made up for my birthday. Too soon you say? I say not soon enough. I’ll be working hard with a team of high end designers to refine this version and expect to be laying down a killer T-shirt release soon. Who knows what could be next? Team kits, gilets, socks, bottles…Even if it’s only me that rocks these fine products, it will happen. Stay tuned for ordering info…  Still looking to crack the 100 subscriber level before I commit to a big order though…

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Pillars of Italian Cycling

Lots of subtitles, but some great behind-the-scenes footage from some great Italian cycling companies.

Waterproof and they look rad too!

These PRO booties are about as awesome as they get (made by Shimano). They keep your feet dry and warm (warmth is not much of an issue when it’s raining, but I guess it’s a good feature).They also keep water from getting in over the tops. In Vancouver, if it’s wet, it’s not cold enough for full tights, so it helps that these guys fit tight around the calf. They are almost too durable though. I’ve had a pair of the old version (they look a bit less awesome) for three years and I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t have to get a new pair yet (they get worn about 100 days a year).

But the big selling feature here is the attention to detail in the design of these things. They fit tight over your road shoes (unlike those hideous, loose-fitting gore tex ones) and help you maintain your image while riding through a monsoon. This is more important that it might seem. After all, if you’re going to get credit for following Rule 9, you should at least try to look badass— by sporting a pair of these over your kicks.

I’ll just close with one last little nudge… in case you weren’t bought into these yet… They are 35 bucks – shipping included. ‘Nuf said.

The Polaris / PBK Neutron Monsoon Jacket

This is the best riding jacket for the money out there – it works for regular downpours, monsoons and hurricanes. I picked one up for 60 bucks last fall and thought I got an awesome deal. The regular price is about 100 bucks, but sometimes it goes as low as 35 bucks. Pro Bike Kit blows these jackets out at least once a year and never seems to run out.

I ride year round, which in North Vancouver means at least 150 days with enough rain to justify wearing this jacket. It’s pretty breathable, infinitely adjustable, fits snug if you want it to, and you can tuck in that annoying flap at the back that comes standard with almost all cycling jackets . Probably most importantly though, it looks awesome! I see a lot of people who ride in MEC Jackets. I love MEC, don’t get me wrong, but these jackets definitely do not look awesome, and aren’t as functional as the Neutron. The base price is also 190 bucks!

I’ve only got one season with this jacket, so not sure how durable it will be long term. So far, it looks about the same as when I got it. The elastics are all intact and the reflective tape is embedded into the jacket material so has not faded at all. For those who want more reflective tape on their jackets (I think there’s plenty on the Neutron), just pick up some reflective velcro straps and wear them in the winter.

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  1. It doesn’t get much better than PBK « Pink Bar Tape - December 6, 2011

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